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What’s Been Going On

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I feel like I didn’t write very much about my summer other than this: it has been crazy. While preparing a travel photo blog post for The Hudsucker, I thought I’d share a little more over here about what’s been going on since I said so long, astoria!

The last update saw me going back to Charlottesville from Michigan. I spent most of that time packing and preparing for a trip to Nashville, where I filled Sixx’s room with bags and boxes of my stuff, ate a lot of sub-par burgers, and went to the Summer NAMM trade show. We also enjoyed an alumni networking event thrown by my college, and followed that up with a more “unofficial” afterparty.


After that I headed back to Charlottesville for one last week of work, my favorite restaurants, and a last chance to do some of the things I’d always meant to get around to.


Finally, I “moved” over to Nashville. I slept on my friend’s couch, cuddled with her cat while she went to work, and in one weekend, went to more shows than I did in my entire tenure as a Charlottesvillian.


Then after that, I wasn’t even settled in to my apartment, I packed up my dirty clothes and headed to the family condo for vacation in Sevierville County, Tennessee. I was grateful for free laundry, of course for family time, and doing fun favorite activities and new experiences. The Rocky Top Wine Trail has some of the best wine I’ve ever tasted, and we tend to do this trail at least twice every trip. (We really like wine.) This time, we also found a great deal on a zipline/horesback riding package. To be honest, the horeseback riding was scarier than the zipline because it had been raining and the horses were sliding all over the trail. We also got a vacation pass for one of the go-kart tracks, and the girls loved that. Heck, I did too – but every time I turn on to the gravel parking lot at work, I’m tempted to spin my car around the way we did on those tracks! I’m glad we had some fun new experiences – and at the end of the week, I inherited all the leftovers. There are currently 10 pounds of ground beef, 5 pounds of pulled pork, and a full pan of homemade lasagna in my freezer. I’m not complaining of course – but do you know how much food that is?!


I’ve had a great, crazy, busy summer. But I’m ready to get back into a routine. Start working out again. Unpack, organize, and maybe get some furniture in my house (that’s another post all in itself….)

workI just finished (and loved) If I Stay and Paper Towns – what other suggestions do you have for treehouse reading?

August 16, 2014

Reflections on Two Years in Charlottesville

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Today I’m moving into my new place in Nashville, and on my drive out of Virginia, I got a little emotional. Honestly – I hadn’t expected to be. While I liked my job, I never felt like I fit into the city: full of old moneyed retired University employees and students who kept to themselves, I always felt out of place as a transplant from thirteen hours away with no family, friends, or other connection to the area. And while I honestly don’t feel that sad about leaving, there are a few things I learned and some things I’ll miss that I’m very glad to have gotten to experience.

When I first moved to Charlottesville, I lost a lot of things. Sixx broke up with me two weeks after I landed in the city – I wasn’t even fully unpacked and I was in no way settled. I wasn’t sure I could survive that one more upheaval, but that was the the thing that really drove me to the gym. The only way to stop thinking about it was to spend hours in the gym, from the pool to the treadmill to the bikes. If I had been anywhere else during the breakup (at home I would have been in the bars every night; in Charlottesville coming off of a move that big, I couldn’t afford it and didn’t have anyone to go out with) my grief would have taken a much different form.

Obviously I developed a lot career-wise as well. I got ticketing experience I never would have, which helped me figure out what my ultimate dream job will be. I got interested in working in sports and looking at the sports industry from a business/marketing perspective, and there’s a lot to be learned from that world.

I’ve always been an independent person – being totally on your own forces you into a new kind of self-sufficient living you didn’t realize was possible. Hit a deer at 2:30am and have no one to call? You figure out what to do real quick. Bought a bed and have to transport, carry to the second floor, and assemble solo? Beast mode.

I loved my job and it was very hard to leave, but my life wasn’t sustainable. It’s one thing to be alone and choose to isolate yourself (which I am pretty well known for) but it’s another to be alone because you don’t have a choice.

I ate a lot of yummy burgers. And of course, I will miss Pedal Steel the most.


Timing is a funny thing. Exactly two years before my last day, I sent off my application for a job I didn’t think I really had a shot at. After three interviews and having only visited once (for about twenty hours,) I got the offer on August 22, my grandfather’s birthday. I packed up my Corolla and drove off to this city far away, full of optimism and excitement.

Even though I would rate my time there as a 4/10, I wouldn’t do anything differently. I’m glad I had the experience of moving somewhere completely alone, knowing no one, and bringing no one. It’s the hardest thing I will ever do… and I never want to do it again.

August 1, 2014

4 the Wounded 5k / #4TW5k Recap

Posted in Work Out by

4 the Wounded 5k is a race in Charlottesville at UVA’s Research Park. In its fourth year, 100% of the proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project. On Saturday morning I laced up with my friend who asked if I’d do this with her for her birthday and obviously, I happily said yes.

Race entry was $32.80 which I thought was a great deal given that I signed up four days before the race. There was a cap of 1600 runners, and it was extremely close to the limit when we signed up (but it did look like there was still race day registration on Saturday.) They had two days of packet pickup, Thursday from 3-7 and Friday from 2-6, which I thought was great. I didn’t have to waste my lunch hour driving out to the middle of nowhere (seriously, the research park is almost 20 minutes out of town) and wouldn’t have to worry about lines on Saturday. I grabbed both of our packets around 6 on Thursday without any lines at all. Registration included a tech shirt (which was awesome since I never wear cotton shirts and have rarely gotten tech tee’s at 5ks), a cooling neck wrap, and promo coupons from sponsors.

6:30am Saturday rolled around and I got out of bed, had a banana and grabbed some water to head out to the research park. I’ve been having some extremely bad knee pain lately, so I was nervous about how I’d feel. My friend and I waited in the corral together about 1/3 back through the pack where I seeded myself (she was walking) and dropped back once the race started.

4 the wounded 5k

There I am with my bright yellow sunglasses!

As I began to run, I felt great. Minimal knee pain, no foot pain, and the first mile was almost all downhill. At this point my stomach started to do somersaults every time I picked up the pace. It was frustrating and I have got to figure out this stomach stuff. It was a little hilly, and in the second mile there was a trail course break off for trail runners which I thought was really cool. Throughout the whole race I felt pretty great and finished in 32:29 (a PR!).

4 the wounded 5k

I crossed through the chute, hit the port-a-potties (where my stomach was fine, of course,) went through the finisher’s spread (it was awesome – water, granola bars, banana, oranges, grapes, and yogurt) and then headed back up the course to finish with my friend. She finished around 1:01, and I picked up an extra mile or so.

Another thing I really liked about this race was that even though it was in the middle of nowhere, that meant that the campus was essentially on lockdown. They closed the two entrances to the area, I felt really safe (god bless closed courses,) and the certain panic attack I would normally feel when my friend chose to leave her car keys on top of her tire instead of putting them in her pocket was minimal. (This did also mean that we couldn’t leave the premises until 9:30, but that was fine.)

I thought this race was a great value and would absolutely run it again next year. I have no complaints about it at all – this says a lot, considering I have super high expectations of everything race-related and rarely enjoy small races 😉 and every time I do a local race, I’m reminded of how crazy fast the runners here are – the winners ran something like 17:40s. Insane.

Are you a fan of smaller, local races? Aside from your own time, what makes a race “good” for you?

June 9, 2014

Corkscrew Racing: Wine Lovers 5k {race preview}

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wine lovers 5kCorkscrew Racing is a new race company in central Virginia. They’ve done two races a year for the past several years, but 2014 brings a rebranding and new races through more vineyards, beginning with the Wine Lovers 5k at Cardinal Point Vineyard in Afton, Virginia.

The first time I heard about this race series was last September when they were gearing up for the fall Autumn Toast event, but it was being held the same weekend as my first half-marathon in Cleveland. I missed out on it, but the gorgeous photos, scenery, and promise of wine piqued my interest, and they’ve stayed on my radar.

corkscrew racing

In news that surprises no one, I LOVE wine. I have an Olivia Pope-like relationship with it. So it’s perfect that this year, they’re introducing the Wine Lovers 5k on Valentine’s Day weekend. This would be a great event for couples, best friends, or a girl’s morning-after! At the race’s finish line, wine and food (including chocolate made with Cardinal Point’s own wine) will be available with live music, making a great post-race lunch date.

In addition to Wine Lovers 5k, they also produce Vine to Wine in June and Autumn Toast in the fall at Barren Ridge. Participants get tech shirts and finisher’s wine glasses, plus finish line tastings, and instead of medals or plaques, age group winners get a bottle of wine! I’m excited to visit a new-to-me winery and enjoy the scenery while racing.

On top of great races, Corkscrew Racing also partners with local non-profit organizations and donates a portion of their proceeds from each race. Since I’m a “runner with a cause,” I think that’s fantastic.

If you’re local to the area you HAVE to check out one of these races!

Corkscrew Racing offered me an entry into the Wine Lovers 5k, but all opinions are my own.

January 10, 2014